Almost Ready!

If you’ve been following me for these past few weeks, you know we’re getting ready to head out on a two-month trip – a mini-furlough of sorts, designed to help us raise the support we’ve been losing over the past 2 years. Now we’re almost ready!

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It’s been an extremely busy week, as we’ve been getting ready for our two-month trip! There are all the things that need done in the yard, to hopefully get the bushes, etc. ready for a 2 month break (does it help to trim them down within an inch of their life?? They won’t grow back soon….) Anything that needs done to the house had to be done this week, like cleaning out cabinets, etc. And then there’s school to plan.

Since we’re starting school the last week of August, we need to take all the school books for my three studious students with us. THAT’s going to be a challenge! I’ve got everything ordered (and one book I had sent to one of the places we’ll be soon, because it won’t come before we leave,) and I copied all the tests they will need while we’re gone, since we won’t have a printer or copier – and I don’t want to run to Staples every day to copy a test for a kid!

One challenge, but also a blessing, is going to be our Heritage Studies. I decided that, instead of bookwork, we will take these next 2 months and learn everything we can about the states we pass through. The plan is to stop at every Welcome Center and gather information and make a scrap book of the trip. I am also going to have each student write a few paragraphs about what we’re learning, and include those in the scrap book as well. It sounds like a lot of fun!

While I’ve been looking for containers to carry food, school materials, and other necessary items, my husband has been busy building a utility trailer. We looked for one on Craigslist and online, but couldn’t find one in the budget, so he bought a trailer frame kit, built that, and went to Lowe’s and got a bunch of wood to make the box. These past few days has found him out in the garage sawing, measuring, and sweating! Our FB page has some pics of the progress we’ve made.

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The van is as ready as it’s going to be, except that today it should get a good cleaning. We had the oil changed, the wheels aligned, and the tires rotated and balanced. One thing that concerns us is a loose CV joint, which we hope to get fixed at our trusted mechanic in PA…and we hope it doesn’t go out before that! If you could pray for us about that, I would appreciate it.

I also got several CD’s and books ready to take with us on the road: Lionproof, Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, and The Umbrella Story, as well as two CD’s – I’ll Say Yes, and a brand-new one, I Have Been Blessed! I’m especially excited about the new CD, because it was recorded while the guys were still with us, and it’s one of the very best we ever did!

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I’m writing this on Friday, but when this posts, Monday, I’ll be just putting the finishing touches on the packing, and loading the trailer and cleaning the house. Before you know it, we be on our way!

As we go, I’ll keep you posted on events, meetings, and setbacks. I’ll try to take pics of as much as I can, and keep you up to date on our progress.

Please pray for us as we go, for safety, and that we would be a blessing to the churches we go to!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum
 

Travel Preparation – Getting Ready!

If you saw my previous post on travel preparation, you know we’re getting ready for a long trip around about half of the country. It’ll be busy and crazy, but right now, I”m just crazy busy, and sometimes just crazy!!

 

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Making lists, cleaning, shopping. Getting out the luggage and dusting it off. Finding tough containers to put things in. More cleaning. Shopping for School books. More cleaning.

Guess what I’m doing? I’m getting ready to travel! The Courageous Journey will be going (the whole family, of course) on a short-term furlough trip during the months of August and September. Lord willing, we’ll be singing, preaching (my husband, of course!) and presenting the ministry to the military. And I can already see on the horizon lots of laughter and a few tears.

I’d like to include you on our journey along the way, if I can. I may not have a smart phone, and my internet will be sporadic at best, but I’ll be the crazy woman standing there with an IPad taking pictures! It won’t be a fashion-show of a trip, that’s for sure. But as The Lord allows, I’d like to post updates on our trip.

Though we travel often, it seems, this time is different. For one thing, we’ve been stationary for a year and a half, so it will be quite a change for us. Also, we’ll be doing school on the road this time. Now, that’s not unusual, except that this time we won’t be taking our RV. That means, not just home school, but “van school” – and that’s NO Sunday School picnic. Last time I did that was in 2001, when I had several younger children. Every time we hit a turn or my hubby hit the brakes hard, math manipulatives went rolling to the front of the van! Since I have older children now (the youngest is in 7th grade) I hope it will be easier. But if it isn’t, I’ll let you know.

The romance of a very long trip can die quickly, usually after the second week. Most folks don’t understand what it’s like to have a harrowing drive through horrid traffic, show up at a church breathless, and be asked to sing. Now I love singing, but it can be difficult when you’re mind is still thinking about the awful accident you just passed. Yes, there are lots of wonderful sights to see, lots of fun people to meet, and some really good times, but there are also the challenges of living in your car, getting lost, or feeling like you can’t stand another moment of driving.

Right now, my days are filled with frenzied cleaning and preparation – lists, lists, and more lists. I have to make sure I remember every school book known to man, since we’ll be starting school (with three students) on the last week in August, and every other thing I could need for 2 months. I mean, how could I possibly forsee the future to know what we’ll need? I definitely need to pray, as well. The Lord is able to remind me of things I may need.

I have an entire spiral notebook reserved for my trip. On the first page is my list of everything I need to do before I go, and on the other pages I have headings, “School Items,” “Kitchen Items,” “Food Items,” etc. On the first page, I wrote dates that these actions need to be done by, and of course am crossing them out as I complete them. I’m also working with a calendar (which is in the back of the notebook) and writing down each days assignments there. It’s not very high-tech, nor is it incredibly neat, but it will ge the job done.

On a side note, one of the meetings we’re going to is the one during which I wrote the children’s book, The Umbrella Story. I had been praying about a way to help my young people understand what to do when we (their parents) make mistakes. During this meeting, it all came to me – the young lady with her beloved umbrella, her discovery that it has a rip, and her trip to the Maker, who eventually helps her discover how to mend the hole. By God’s grace, I wrote the entire story in an hour and a half.

It’s a wonderful analogy that even young people understand. If you haven’t already read it, you can get a copy here or here.

Next time, Lord willing, we’ll be about ready to loose our moorings and head out!

Are you taking a trip this summer? What is your most memorable event that happened to you on a trip?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum
 

5 Must-Read Books!

I love to read, and lately I’ve read some really good books! God has allowed me to rub shoulders with some very wonderful people via their stories, and I’m so thankful to be able to pass along to you some of my very favorites!! (Side note: This post contains links to products that I have read, enjoy, and recommend, but they are not affiliate links. I get nothing from recommending them.)

 

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When I was younger, I read every single book on parenting I could find. Some were helpful. In fact, some were very helpful! But some were not. I remember particularly one book that made me feel like the worst parent in the world. I liked the cover, and the description looked like it would be very helpful. But reading the book made me feel as though I had not only made a ton of mistakes, but I my children would be ruined completely unless I did everything the book said! Maybe it’s not quite as dramatic as that, but at the time, it sure seemed that way. After that, it was awhile before I picked up another parenting book.

I found that discouraging books cause me to expect more out of my husband and children than they are able to give. Friction ensues, and the whole family unit is put out of whack. I remember one book that said that a father should start a business, so he could teach his boys to work. Well, my husband is a missionary and we travel a lot, and he was unable to start his own business. I became frustrated with my husband, until I learned to accept him and his calling the way it is.

Contrast that book with an encouraging one.

An Encouraging book:

A) Gives you hope – You’re not alone, and you CAN do it! The author doesn’t come off as a know-it-all, someone who is “imparting his vast store of wisdom” to you – he is a human being, just like you, who has gone through the same things and has come out on the other side SUCCESSFUL! He tells us, not how we should do it and why we’re not doing it right, but how he did it, and how we can do it too!

B) The message from the author is not, “I’ve always been awesome,” but “I was born with certain weaknesses in these areas, and this is how I was able to overcome them.” He does what he does in spite of all his learning problems, communication difficulties, and financial setbacks.

C) Points you toward a definite, reachable goal. It may even break those goals down into smaller, even more manageable parts. Many How-to books fit into this category.

Here are some of my faves:

1. Success despite setbacks – Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is the result of his filing for bankruptcy, and then learning a huge lesson on how to really handle money before it goes and handles him. It’s a boy-meets-money, boy-loses-money, boy-gets-money again story, with Dave owing his ultimate success to things he’s learned from simple folks and their common sense.

2. Survival against all odds – Marcus Lutrell’s Lone Survivor. (we downloaded in and used the “replace with” key to change they cuss words into more acceptable alternatives, since we read it out loud as a family.) The book follows his training all the way from his childhood to the incredible mission, in which he alone survives. The character of these men is inspiring and amazing!

3. Learning to Succeed Despite Flaws in Your Character – Frank Bettger’s How I Went From Failure to Success in Selling. This is my husband’s favorite book, because he can identify with Frank’s failures, and, although we are in the ministry, we are showing Christ to a hungry world, and we can’t afford to fail because of our own character flaws.

4. Losing Weight By Eating – Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene and Pearl. Their book describes how people have used their program to lose weight while not feeling deprived one bit! I’ve been using their program since January myself. I’ve wanted to shed the stubborn last ten pounds, and gain control over my hypoglycemia, which seems to dictate everything I do. Their book, and the program they use (and now I use!) has helped me tremendously! In fact, I am finally down to the same weight I was when I got married, and I get to eat chocolate cake every night! (If you want to know the recipe, ask in the comments section!)

5. And my personal favorite: Learning to Parent Despite the Way I was Raised. OK, so this is my own book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children From the Claws of the Devil. Many of the folks I interviewed did not come from ideal homes, and yet they still are serving The Lord today, and are raising their own children to love and serve The Lord. These young people understood that their parents were not perfect, but they were able to sort through the bad to find the good, and then clung to the good.

I remember speaking to one parent of a godly second generation Christian. I knew she had had a very rough childhood, and struggled with confidence regularly. I asked, “What did you do that pointed your children in the direction of serving The Lord?” She looked puzzled, thought a minute, and replied, “I don’t know. Prayed??” But when I talked to her adult son, he was able to point to his mom and tell me, “Yeah, I know she’s not perfect. But she was real. She loves God with all her heart, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too.”

Don’t read books that make you feel like a maggot. Read encouraging books that will lift you up and give you hope.
And if you haven’t gotten your copy of Lionproof yet, you can get it today!

Question: What good books have you read lately? Why?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum